Jun 6, 2019

Color-changing LEDs are not the only difference between New York’s former Tappan Zee Bridge and its replacement, the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, but they might be the most visible one—at least from afar. While an icon of the Hudson Valley, the Tappan Zee Bridge was no longer able to support the region’s increasing number of commuters. Its 3.1-mile replacement stands out due to decorative lighting schemes for special occasions.

The lighting system uses more than 3,000 Philips (now Signify) fixtures, 2,700 of which are color-changing. The fixtures can be programmed remotely and choreographed to music. Since its opening late 2018, the bridge has turned pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, red and green for Christmas, and green for Saint Patrick’s Day. Special lighting schemes can also be enacted on short notice—for instance, the lights turned blue and red on March 15, following the shooting massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand. When the bridge’s shared-use path is finished, a public calendar of the lighting schedule will be available.